Meet the Candidates: Who’s running for Attleboro mayor?

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — On Tuesday, Sept. 21, voters will head to the polls to cast their ballot in the preliminary election for Attleboro mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Paul Heroux will face off against Todd McGhee and Jim Poore. The two highest-ranking candidates will go head-to-head in the general election in November.

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12 News surveyed each of the candidates about their priorities. See their responses below:

Mayor Paul Heroux

Why do you want to serve another term as mayor?

I am going for my third and final term to finish off some projects. I would like to finish the new high school on time and on budget. I’m in the process of building a performing arts pavilion at Highland Park. I have numerous sidewalk and roadway projects I would like to see through to completion. There are a number of new businesses and new projects going on in the downtown that I would like to see come to fruition. I also want to continue to expand the special ed stabilization fund and continue to increase school funding to close the structural gap that has been present for years. There are a number of other things I would like to do within the police and fire departments to give those employees the resources they need to do an even better job.

What previous experiences make you well suited to be mayor?

I am the only candidate who has experience being a mayor. Even if you were to take that experience away and look at what experience I have before being mayor, I am the only candidate with political experience. I am the only candidate who worked in a city department, two different state organizations, and I worked for the Attleboro YMCA for seven years. These work experiences give me a unique and diverse perspective on what works and what doesn’t in government. I’m also the only candidate with a Master’s in Public Administration.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the city in the next two years?

The biggest issue facing the city year after year is to make sure that the budget is properly balanced so that every department is funded in the best possible way when up against the limitations of limited funds and competition with other departments. Aside from that, keeping city employees in the public safe from COVID-19 is critically important. Continuing to revitalize the downtown so we have a stronger economic base is important. Making sure that we don’t go backwards with education funding is also important. And making sure we finish the new high school on time and on budget.

What is a hidden gem in your city?

Attleboro is home to about one dozen walking and hiking trails.

Where can voters go to find more information about your campaign?

paulheroux.org or my Facebook page

Todd McGhee

Why do you want to be mayor?

The city of Attleboro is a great place to live and work, and I am proud to be a resident for 21 years. However, I have witnessed first-hand the gap in leadership, collaboration and vision. The current state of the city and the direction that it is going, is concerning. The culmination of my experiences in the public and private sectors will benefit the needs of the city. The vision I have as mayor is to give back the abundant blessings from my life experiences to enhance the capabilities of our city. Indeed, trash cans to wetlands are important matters, however, my vision focuses on the totality of the ecosystem of Attleboro. I am a candidate for mayor to bring these qualities and servant leadership to the executive office of the city. Campaigning for mayor is not about me, as I am not looking to gain influence for future political aspirations. It’s about serving the residents and needs of our city.

What previous experiences make you well suited to be mayor?

I have learned much over the past 34+ years through a career in public, private and government sectors, and it would be an honor to employ these skillsets in the executive office of the city of Attleboro. After serving for 24 years with the Massachusetts State Police in patrol, investigation, 10 years at Logan Airport after 9/11, and defensive tactics coordinator, I retired in 2011. Subsequently, I trained, consulted and developed programs for law enforcement, front line employees and school security as well as serving as a media security analyst, international curriculum developer and lead trainer for the US Department of State, Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance. Additionally, I served for 18 years on a board of trustees at my former church and 10 years as chair of trustees. My educational background is with Northeastern University Class of ’87 and Anna Maria College Class of ’96, where I earned a BS and an MS in Criminal Justice. Currently I hold a seat on the Board of Trustees at Bishop Feehan High School and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Working with municipal, state and federal governments has equipped me to understand budgets, contracts and procurement rules. I also have management experience, which has taught me the value of collaboration and bringing out the best in others. I will govern with servant leadership and collaboration at the forefront of my style, I am able to recognize gaps, take a pragmatic approach to problem solving with a passion for championing issues for others.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the city in the next two years?

To further expand on why I want to be mayor of Attleboro, I will point to the many issues our city is facing. The trash cans and Waste Management contract is not servicing the needs of the residents and will increase by nearly $1 million by the end of the contract; there is a growing rat infestation problem; aging water infrastructure; and poor roadway conditions. I am concerned for our aging and underserved population. Since canvassing for the campaign, I have met residents who can no longer afford to live in their homes and others who cannot afford their rent and are needing to make hard choices to balance their quality of life. There has to be a decent balance that is sustainable and thoughtful for residents on low and fixed incomes. I believe our most vulnerable population — our seniors — deserve better care by establishing cooling centers and warming centers. I am concerned that our public safety professionals from both police and fire are leaving to take jobs in other cities. I am concerned that our school system needs more teachers for smaller classroom sizes, and more adjustment councilors to address potential at-risk students. All of these items listed need great collaboration between elected officials, city department leaders, and the community. I believe servant leadership is needed to address these concerns and I am the best candidate to lead us through economic hardship, pandemic crisis and road to recovery.

What is a hidden gem in your city?

I have found the greatest hidden gems in our city are the gifts and talents possessed by our city employees and public safety professionals. We have untapped talent in our own city residents who are eager to volunteer their expertise. I have met such wonderful people who have made great contributions to the city over the years in development, conservation, chambers of commerce, education and elder services. As mayor, I will seek the wisdom and guidance of these hidden leaders to help benefit our community.

Where can voters go to find more information about you campaign?

You are invited to visit my website: toddmcghee.com and follow the campaign on Facebook.

Jim Poore

Why do you want to be mayor?

I feel the city and the country are going in the wrong direction. If citizens want change, it starts at the local level. The overall attitude in the city is terrible, and I want to make sure my children and all families have a great place to live.

What previous experiences make you well suited to be mayor?

I do not have any “experience” in terms of politics, but I have been on a city committee where I have seen budgets and a sense of the goings on in the community. I am just a regular guy, with a wife and family. Many times governments need just that — a regular guy. A politician isn’t always the best solution.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the city in the next two years?

The biggest issue in the city is the overall attitude. Many people don’t get along, and that can make it difficult to govern a city. Everyone must work together, regardless of political party, to accomplish what needs to be done. Happy employees and happy citizens make for a much more enjoyable atmosphere, which makes for a much better community.

What is a hidden gem in your city?

There are several, from Capron Park, to great restaurants, and underrated medical facilities. The biggest hidden gem, though, is the citizens of Attleboro. There is no place with better people, from downtown to the outer neighborhoods. They are what makes this city great — and will only make it greater.

Where can voters go to find more information about you campaign?

I have two Facebook pages: a personal page and a page for my campaign. Both are public and can be viewed by any resident.

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